Agreed. They were a basket case with no clear strategy even at good times. What’s the reason for Etihad’s existance? Abu Dhabi is small and could very well be served by literally anyone else in the region.
This shows complete lack of understanding of regional political dynamics within the UAE and other neighbouring countries!
Political dynamics cannot create a viable business plan.
calstanford actually has a rational point, if an airline doesn't have a clear strategy in this highly competitive business, they will just destroy cash as Etihad did in the past.
Etihad must compete with Qatar, Emirates/FlyDubai, Turkish & Pegasus, Air Arabia, and the horde of Indian airlines to/from the subcontinent.
Emirates started (regionally, copying the Singapore model in many ways) the mega connecting strategy. By having first mover advantage in a, at then, underserved region, EK was able to establish a route network that drove demand and allowed for great cost control helping to fill A380s. At first to select destinations, but later their strategy of having 20 people from each flight connecting to each of 100+ destinations allowed A380 service to cities I personally wouldn't have predicted in late 2000 when the A380 was launched.
One cannot ignore the strategy of opening up Dubai to appeal to more business. Allowing any company to come in, buy into real estate (corporate and housing), with beaches open to Western, reasonable 'blue laws', allowing supermarket chains to establish to cater to people's preferences, copying (in my opinion) Irvine California's zoning for religious buildings, allowing London law and hiring retired London judges, the trade zones, and don't forget that harbor allowing Dubai to be the distribution center of the Mid-East which enables cargo. While right now Dubai being the home port for multiple cruise ships is not of help, it will be again soon.
Air Arabia introduced the LCC to the region. FlyDubai copied with the advantage of EK connections and a far larger O&D market.
Qatar copied EK and become the second choice. However, Dubai seems to have a clear advantage in cargo distribution which is, in my opinion, a profit differentiation. Qatar tried to attract Western business, but just hasn't to the degree of Dubai.
The growth in Turkish aviation has been amazing. With high O&D and the new airport (which I think we can agree needs the 3rd runway to cut taxi times, a runway that opens up soon), this creates a new competitor with interesting political implications that quickly go off topic.
The airlines of India are handicapped by high fuel taxes and processes that often separate connections that heavily reduce competitiveness.
This leaves too little left for EY. EK has the Qantas code share that helps fill A380s to Europe. While Indian airlines fly to all ME3, EK has the demand for forward connections on a high frequency network which means that customers get to fly when they are willing to pay for.
Connecting airlines increase yield by connecting everywhere to everywhere at high frequency. This is a huge part of Delta's model at Atlanta and unfortunately, EY is behind EK, TK, and QR. I don't know how to create a profitable business plan being #4.
I didn't mention Ethiopian, but they have certainly cut opportunities in Africa too.
Just doing quick Bing searches for "airline name destinations"
Emirates: 161 destinations. Some destinations have extremely high frequency allowing for easy connections.
Turkish: 288 destinations
Qatar: 168 destinations
Etihad: 156 destinations (much lower frequencies)
Etihad has no clear niche. Thus, they have no clear strategy. Because of this, they didn't make a profit during the good years. Now that it is the bad times, they must shrink and simplify the fleet. While Dubai's tourist O&D will take time to recover, it will recover (a question of when, not if). Abu Dhabi didn't have a clear strategy to drive up O&D traffic.
There is a surplus of one if not two hubbing airlines in the region. I would bet against the airlines that were losing money in the good years.
I cannot wait to get vaccinated to live again! Warning: I simulated that it takes 50%+ vaccinated to protect the vaccinated and 75%+ vaccinated to protect the vac-hesitant.